The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (“PIDA”) was drafted in order to protect people who speak out about bad and illegal actions at work from being harassed, victimised or dismissed. Technically described as suffering a detriment.
Despite the Act coming into force on 02 July 1999 the charity Public Concern at Work are concerned that it still doesn’t go far enough to protect those who speak out.
In response to their feeling they have set up an independent Whistleblowing Commission to examine the effectiveness of existing arrangements for workplace whistleblowing.
There is still a lot of negative emotions attached to the idea of whistleblowing. It’s a frightening prospect to imagine yourself putting your head above the parapet or putting yourself in the firing line. These idioms summon up a vision of war and it can be a case of company vs staff when tackling issues of illegal practice.
The fear of losing your job; other’s losing theirs or simply being ostracised for rocking the boat are enough to make people think twice, so more support in this area is always welcome.
The Whistleblowing Commission will launch a public consultation in March looking at whistblowing from many angles. Carol Sergeant CBE, chair of Public Concern at Work said:
“Encouraging people to speak out and ensuring that it is safe for them to do so is quite simply good governance and common sense. Many, if not all of the issues that are causing so much concern today could have been prevented or stopped early if individuals had felt able to speak out and had been listened to. We need to make sure that whistleblowing really works for the sake of individuals, organisations and society as a whole.”
We look forward to their findings.